The use of robotics is transforming the way surgery is performed across the U.S. and is becoming increasingly popular in our region. Robotic-assisted surgery — the latest advancement in minimally invasive surgical techniques — is on the rise, says Dr. Mark Witkowski, a general surgeon at Tidelands Health who specializes in the approach. And he predicts it will continue growing in popularity.
“It’s definitely getting to the point where it’s becoming more common,” Dr. Witkowski says. “In the years to come, I expect it to eventually become standard for basically any minimally invasive surgery.”
One study of more than 150,000 patients at 73 hospitals found that robotic-assisted procedures accounted for 2 percent of all general surgeries in 2012. By 2018, the approach accounted for 15 percent.
With robotic-assisted surgery, specially trained surgeons can perform complex and delicate procedures through small incisions using miniaturized instruments. The surgeon controls the instruments from a nearby computer console using a high-definition 3D camera to see inside a patient’s body. The camera can magnify the operating field to provide much more detail for the surgeon than the human eye can detect.
For patients, that can mean smaller incisions, less blood loss, shorter recovery times and smaller scars.
Tidelands Health, our region’s leading health care provider, recently added a state-of-the-art robotic-assisted surgical system at Tidelands Georgetown Memorial Hospital following the success of the approach at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
“We’re one of the busiest robotic surgery centers in the region,” he says. “A lot of that has to do with having good outcomes. People go back to their doctors happy with their experience.”
At Tidelands Health, robotic-assisted surgery is available for gallbladder, hernia and colon surgeries. Urological and gynecological procedures such as hysterectomies can also be performed using the technology.
Not for everyone
Not every patient or condition is eligible for robotic-assisted surgery. Your physician can help decide what’s right for you.
The expansion of the robotic-assisted surgery program is part of a continued commitment at Tidelands Health to meet the health care needs of patients in the fast-growing region by using the latest technology and offering advanced care close to home.
In recent years, Tidelands Health — the area’s largest health care provider — has recruited dozens of specialists in fields ranging from endocrinology and neurosurgery to gastroenterology, secured leading technology and constructed state-of-the-art treatment facilities. In addition, Tidelands Health recently became the state’s first full affiliate of the MUSC Hollings Cancer Network.